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Apparition of the Miraculous Cross to an Army
Circle of Cano, Alonso
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Circle of Cano, Alonso

Granada, 1601 - Granada, 1667

Cano, Alonso See author's file

Apparition of the Miraculous Cross to an Army

1657 - 1661. Grey-brown wash, Pencil on yellow laid paper.
Not on display

A research published by Javier González Santos has revealed that the 19th-century inventories of the Museo del Prado accurately cited the subject of this drawing as alluding to the Holy Cross and the cave of Covadonga. Actually, this painting depicts the Apparition of the Victory Cross to the foot soldier Pelagius of Asturias in the battle of Covadonga. This is directly related to the engraving bearing the same title, included in Spain restored by the Cross, by Juan de la Portilla Duque (Madrid, 1661).

This drawing depicts the Victory Cross in the upper central part of the sky, with flaming haloes behind it and surrounded by cherubs holding a banner, waving above the cross. In the lower right part, there are several knights (with the foot soldier Pelagius of Asturias at the front) who appear in the middle of a mountainous landscape, kneeling before the cross as sign of veneration. Further to the lower left, in a mountain valley, several horsemen wearing the typical Islamic turban are perceptible.

This drawing is an example of Cano’s work as an engraver for frontispieces or as an illustrator for books published in Spain, especially in the final stage of his career. The publication of Spain restored by the Cross, was financed by the Kingdom of Castile. Therefore, it was an official work commissioned by public institutions. Thus, Cano’s association with this project highlights the continuity of the royal support enjoyed by the artist in the 1650s and the 1660s.

Veliz, Zahira, Alonso Cano (1601-1667): dibujos, Santander, Fundación Marcelino Botín, 2009, p.388-389; nº 80


Technical data

Inventory number
Circle of Cano, Alonso
Apparition of the Miraculous Cross to an Army
1657 - 1661
Grey-brown wash; Pencil
Yellow laid paper
Height: 122 mm; Width: 100 mm
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de dibujos Vol. I. Dibujos españoles, siglos XV-XVII / por A. E. Pérez Sánchez, Madrid, 1972, pp. 52-53.

Véliz, Zahira, Alonso Cano's Drawings and Related Works, Courtald Institute-London Univ., Londres, 1998, pp. nº 68.

Alonso Cano. Dibujos, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2001, pp. 182, nº 70.

González Santos, Javier, Apostilla a Alonso Cano, ilustrador, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXII, 2004, pp. 56-63 / 4.

Veliz, Zahira, Alonso Cano (1601-1667): dibujos, Fundación Marcelino Botín, Santander, 2009, pp. 388-389; nº 80.

Madrazo, José de, Inventario 1857. Vol. II, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, pp. nº 133.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 133.
133. Otro idem [dibujo] idem [sic.] de la Santa Cruz y Cuéba de Cobadonga, de Cano; Alto cinco y media pulgadas : ancho cuatro y media idem.

Inv. General, Sección 3ª. Dibujos, grabados, acuarelas y miniaturas, 1879. Núm. 57.
Numeración Antigua 133. [Numeración] Moderna 57. Dibujo alusivo a la Santa Cruz y cueva de Covadonga - alto 0,15 por 0,12 ancho. marco negro y cristal.

Inv. Dibujos, Fondo Antiguo. Núm. 46.

Inscriptions +

Inscribed. Front, lower right corner

Printmaking. Front

Update date: 21-05-2022 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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